Zika: History of Virus

The Zika virus is a Flavivirus from the same family as the Dengue, West Nile, and Yellow fever viruses. Zika was first documented in the 1950's in the Zika forest of Uganda. Although the virus was thought to be limited to an equatorial belt across Africa and Asia, outbreaks have occurred across the Pacific islands between 2007-2014 and reached South America in 2015. In February 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus to be a global emergency. Cases are being reported throughout the Americas from Mexico in the North to Bolivia in the South. A major foci of the current outbreak is Brazil where it is estimated that 100,000's of people have been infected. On July 25 (2016), Colombia, which was also a major foci with an estimated 99,721 cases, 8,826 of which were confirmed by laboratory test, became the first country in the Americas to declare the end of the outbreak.